An explosion hit Makhmur Refugee Camp for Turkey's Kurds killed three people, and injured 7 more. The camp organizers claim the cause of the explosion was an airstrike. Photo:Rudaw/Farhad Dolamari
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A deadly explosion that hit a Kurdish refugee camp in Makhmur Wednesday evening was from an airstrike, Council of Makhmur Camp claimed in a statement.
It stated that they do not know who carried out the alleged airstrike, but added that the Iraqi government is in charge of the air space in the reported areas, and therefore, they expect the Iraqi government to release an "urgent statement" in this regard.
"A number of Makhmur Protection Units were martyred and injured," the statement said without providing figures.
The so-called Makhmur Protection Units (MPU) was established in 2014 when ISIS militants attacked areas in northern parts of Iraq, including Makhmur.
The then Kurdish President Masoud Barzani visited the camp in August 2014 when Kurdish Peshmerga and camp units pushed ISIS militants out from Kurdish territories southwest of Erbil. The PKK media then reported that Barzani thanked the resistance put up by the PKK-linked fighters against the ISIS group.
The refugee camp hosts more than 12,000 Kurdish refugees who have fled the Turkish state's persecution mostly in the 1990s.
MPU is linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a Kurdish armed group that has waged a three-decade insurgency against the Turkish state fighting for greater national and cultural rights for millions of Kurds in Turkey. Turkey considers the PKK a terrorist organization, regularly targeting its bases in the Kurdistan Region.
Turkey's airstrikes are limited to border areas where PKK has maintained a presence since 1990s, but the Turkish air force earlier in April targeted PKK-linked groups in Sinjar that killed and injured tens of its Yezidi fighters from Shingal Protection Units (YBS).
ANF, a PKK-affiliated media, had initially reported on Wednesday that the explosion was a car bombing.
The target was an outpost guarded by PKK fighters at the gate of the camp, Rashad Galali, a Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) official in Makhmur, told Rudaw after the explosion.
Kurdish Peshmerga lost control of Makhmur in October to the Iraqi forces following Baghdad's military incursion into the disputed or Kurdistani areas claimed by both Erbil and Baghdad.
The camp is now located in Iraqi-controlled territories, but the PKK-linked groups are largely in charge of its administration.